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April 5, 2006Chicago toughness. Love of the game. Defensive prowess. Floor leadership.
Duke guard Sean Dockery took those traits with him on the floor every night he put on the Duke uniform.
His selfless attitude and team first mentality made him one of the most popular Blue Devils for each of his four seasons.
Never was that attitude more noticeable than this season, when Dockery willingly and eagerly took freshman Greg Paulus under his wing to help get Paulus ready for the ACC grind.
Dockery's playing time was threatened by Paulus' arrival, but that didn't matter to Dockery, who only wanted to do whatever he could to make Duke better equipped to win games.
Dockery came to Duke in 2002 as part of the Super Six, which included fellow classmates J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Lee Melchionni, and Shavlik Randolph. Michael Thompson also started his career at Duke before transferring.
Dockery worked hard at Chicago Julian, met academic standards despite several naysayers, and fulfilled his dream of playing for Coach K in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
As a freshman, Dockery's best games came against Ohio State and Florida State. He scored a season high 10 points against the Buckeyes to go along with a pair of assists. Later in the year against the Seminoles, Dockery dished out three assists to go with his eight points on the road at Tallahassee.
Though he struggled with his shooting as a sophomore, Dockery's floor leadership skills really began to flourish. He improved his assist-to-turnover ratio from 0.91 as a freshman to 1.81 as a sophomore.
His shooting stroke returned in a big way as a junior, as he raised his overall field goal percentage by six points and improved his three point percentage from .120 to .429.
The indelible image from Dockery's career came as a senior though, when he canned a 40 footer at the buzzer to avoid a home loss against Virginia Tech.
Though nothing can top that single night's heroics at Cameron, Dockery's overall senior statistics were again solid. He shot the ball capably, averaged a career high 7.1 points per game, and played a terrific floor game, leading the team in steals and assist-to-turnover ratio.
The true measure of Dockery's contributions on the floor can't be determined with numbers and averages though. After Chris Duhon's graduation, he assumed the role of Duke's perimeter leader on defense. He shared that role with Daniel Ewing as a junior, but he was unquestionably Duke's best on the ball defender as a senior.
Dockery was always the first one diving on a loose ball, flying out of bounds to save a single possession, playing his heart out on both ends of the floor to give his team any kind of an edge possible.
It's that heart and desire that first attracted Coach K, a fellow Chicago native, to Dockery.
Toughness, tenacity, competitive fire. That is Sean Dockery in a nutshell. Although his departure doesn't leave gaping voids in the stat sheet, his shoes are going to be mighty big to fill.